What Cultural Considerations I Should be Aware of when Seeking Surgery in Mexico?

Mexican Cultural Differences

Seeking medical treatment or surgery in Mexico offers both benefits and challenges. Many consider Mexico for medical care due to its affordability, quality, and accessibility, but there are cultural aspects to consider for a smooth experience. 

Understanding the local healthcare system, language nuances, and cultural sensitivities is crucial for anyone seeking medical care in Mexico

Let’s discuss considerations you should be aware of before seeking plastic surgery, bariatric surgery, or any other surgery in Mexico. 

Travel Considerations

When planning to receive medical care in Mexico, it’s important to prepare thoroughly. This includes understanding the necessary travel documents, such as passports and visas, and ensuring you have adequate health insurance coverage that extends to services abroad. 

Researching and selecting accredited healthcare facilities is crucial for ensuring quality care. You can check out some top hospitals for visitors and expats here

You also need to consider the logistics of your stay, including where you’ll stay during your treatment and how you’ll navigate transportation within the country. When checking out affordable places to stay during your medical care, ensure they have basic amenities like constant electricity and a good transportation system. 

Planning for these elements can help ensure a smooth and stress-free experience.

Major Cultural Differences in Mexico


Sunday is extremely important to the Mexican culture, as it’s typically the only sole day off for the majority of Mexicans. Most people working in Mexico will typically work 5 1/2 days or 6 days a week, with Sunday being their only time off.

Sunday is very important time to spend with their loved-ones. Renew Bariatrics performs surgeries six days a week, from Mon-Saturday.


Time is another important consideration when undergoing any medical treatment in Mexico. In the Mexican culture time is more lax than the US. Typically, Mexicans don’t look at their watches and stress over the exact time – it’s more laid back.

When doing any surgeries, time is more of a guide than anything else. Surgeries can run longer than expected, or the operating room, can be backed up. Renew Bariatrics’ surgical team aims to start your surgeries as soon as possible, but in any medical environment – there can be delays.

Personal Space 

Mexico, like many other countries around the World, don’t abided by the 3-foot personal space that Americans are accustom to. You’ll find many people cram in the elevator without a second’s thought (even post-covid).


In Mexico, it’s common to greet with a single cheek-to-cheek kiss (or even a lips-to-cheek kiss on certain occasions). Interestingly, a wave in Mexico on the way out the door is a bit rude.


Food is a big part of Mexican cultural, more-so than the US or Canada.

Lunch and dinner are typically eaten later in Mexico than in the US. Companions looking for food may be surprised to find that Tacos are typically eating late at night, and the restaurants are not open at the expected lunch time.

Additionally, in Mexico there can be two lunches – where medical staff and doctors will eat a second lunch or snack later in the afternoon.

Legal & Ethical Considerations

Legal and ethical considerations are crucial when seeking medical care in Mexico. Patients should be aware of Mexico’s healthcare regulations, including understanding their rights and the standards of care they should expect. It’s also important to consider the legal recourse available in case of medical malpractice or disputes

Ethically, respecting local customs and healthcare practices is vital. Patients should ensure their medical treatments align with Mexican laws and international ethical standards. Engaging with accredited and reputable healthcare providers can help navigate these considerations effectively.


Effective communication is key when receiving medical care in Mexico. While Spanish is the primary language, not all medical staff may be fluent in English. It’s beneficial to learn some basic Spanish medical terms or consider the services of a professional translator. 

Many healthcare facilities catering to international patients have staff who can speak English, helping to ease the communication process. 

To learn Spanish before traveling, consider using language learning apps such as Duolingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, Memrise, and HelloTalk. These platforms offer interactive lessons ranging from beginner to advanced levels, helping you pick up essential vocabulary and grammar needed for communication.

Renew Bariatrics’s bariatric surgeons all speak perfect English – helping you effectively communicate with your surgeon.

Common Sensitivities and Conditions

Understanding common health concerns and cultural attitudes toward certain conditions is essential in Mexico. It’s important to be aware of the prevalent health issues and how they might be approached differently due to cultural practices. 

Respect for cultural sensitivities, especially regarding traditional remedies and family involvement in healthcare decisions, can significantly impact your medical care experience. 

Being informed about these aspects can help in discussing your treatment options effectively with healthcare providers.

Quality and Safety of Hospitals in Mexico

Healthcare facilities in Mexico aim for high standards, with many professionals trained internationally and facilities often equipped with the latest technology. 

Mexico’s healthcare system includes a formal accreditation process by entities such as the General Health Council, and many hospitals pursue international accreditations like JCI to align with global care standards. 

Patient safety, including sterile conditions and updated surgical methods, is prioritized, ensuring rights to informed consent, privacy, and access to personal medical information.


Navigating the process of seeking medical treatment in Mexico requires awareness of several cultural and practical considerations. From preparing essential travel documents to understanding legal and ethical aspects and communicating effectively in Spanish, each step is crucial for a positive experience. 

Recognizing common health concerns and choosing accredited healthcare facilities ensure quality and safety. 

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